February 17, 2006

Leo Chappel Named Head Men's Soccer Coach at Columbia University

Feb. 17, 2006

Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara assistant men's soccer coach Leo Chappel has been selected as the next head men's soccer coach at Columbia University, it was announced Friday by CU Director of Athletics Dr. M. Diane Murphy. Having held his assistant title at UCSB for five seasons, Chappel will take over the reigns of Lions' program effective immediately.

With the success that the UCSB men's soccer team has achieved over the past seasons, Chappel had continually been recognized as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation, earning NSCAA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2004.

"We are extremely excited that Leo was selected to be the next head coach at Columbia," said Gauchos' head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "He has worked hard at achieving his goal of becoming a head coach. He has been very dedicated to UCSB soccer and it was going to take the right opportunity for him to leave Santa Barbara and develop his career as a head coach."

Chappel takes over the reigns of a rich and storied program at Columbia and returns to the area of the United States where he began his soccer career, having grown up in the greater New York City area.

Much like the Gauchos in 2004, CU lost Indiana in the 1983 national title match in extra-time in one of its eleven trips to the NCAA Tournament. Winners of nine Ivy League titles, the Lions are expecting big things from the UCSB product, "He has proven success at the highest levels of collegiate soccer," said Murphy. "He brings energy, enthusiasm and integrity as a leader. I have the utmost confidence Leo will reestablish Columbia men's soccer as one of the best in the nation."

"We wish Leo the best," said Vom Steeg, "we are know that he will do well at Columbia and help return their program to one of the tops in the nation."

Chappel is replacing former head coach Dieter Ficken who retired following the 2005 season after 27 years at the helm. Chappel also serves on the coaching staff of the '89 Boys Region IV Olympic Development Team that recently won the Inter-Regionals Tournament in Florida.